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Beach Cottage and Coastal Design Ideas

December 09, 2016
Beach Cottage and Coastal Design Ideas

Beach House Décor Ideas

Always day-dreaming of endless summers and living by the beach? No matter what your location, you can bring that seaside feeling into your home by decorating it with the colours and accessories typically found in beach houses along the coast. Bring the outdoors inside with new beach-style furniture or add some custom-designed nautical fixtures. The possibilities are endless when you use the ocean and coastline as your inspiration.

Decide on a Coastal Living Theme

Many people look back on their childhood and fondly remember relaxing family trips to the beach. Then there are others who are lucky enough to take in the sun and surf daily, where the smell and feel of the ocean air is only a few minutes away. You can bring the appreciation of the ocean’s natural serenity and beauty into your home by creating a coastal haven with these beach house decorating ideas.

Coastal living is comfortable and relaxed, and it offers a no-fuss approach to design. It combines both indoor and outdoor living to accommodate entertaining large groups of people or intimate dining for two. Rooms are open, fresh and light, and they make use of natural colours.

There are many elements that go into making a home in tune with coastal living. Deciding on a coastal living theme is the first step in choosing your beach theme décor. The key is to make your indoor space flow seamlessly with the outdoors. Here are a few themes to give you some beach house décor ideas:

Beach Cottage

Cute, cosy and a little bit bohemian. A beach side cottage can be an eclectic mix of coastal, vintage and shabby chic inspired pieces such macramé, baskets, hurricane lamps, rope accessories, jute rugs and shell lamps or chandeliers. Think rattan or basket weave furniture and don’t forget the hammock or Adirondack chairs for outdoors.

Contemporary Coastal

This style is defined by its natural materials and textures, as well as its clean lines. It brings a bright, sunlit look to interiors. This is a great theme to use when you want to create a classic look, sticking to basic finishes and simple lines. Pared back artwork and beach-style furniture create this theme without a cluttered look.

Walk on the Beach

It doesn’t matter if you live on a beach or just dream about it occasionally. You can get the feel of being at the beach by enhancing the natural beauty of your home with sea-themed accents, crisp white backdrops and splashes of bold colour. You can also use this theme outdoors and add a colourful hammock to relax in after a hard day’s work.

Almost Paradise

Create a tropical oasis with beach décor in Australia with vibrant hues, bold prints and natural decorative pieces including woven textures, palm tree motifs, tropical wildflower rugs and more.


You can give any room in your house a nautical theme. Seaside themes can be bold, chic or classic. House of Home has a great collection of nautical-themed home products from wall art to elegant rugs.

Some people prefer to turn their home in a coastal living beach house as a way of beating the winter doldrums. It may be cold and rainy outside, but there will be a warmer vibe inside. Some quick fixes to easily transform your winter home into a coastal haven include:

  • Adding a statement plant - By strategically placing an orchid, fern or palm, you are making a bold comment about wanting your home to feel and look like the tropics. It doesn’t need to be a living plant.

  • Switching out coloured linens for white ones - Pure white towels, crisp sheets and even sheer curtains have a built-in beach look, and it will automatically make your home feel clean and sunny.

  • Updating your patio or porch furniture - After you clear the clutter from your porch or patio, add a few pieces of white wicker furniture and a few bold throw pillows to create a tropical oasis.

  • Including the bedrooms- A simple beach-print or nautical comforter and sheet set coupled with a few coral prints or a shell motif will lighten up any bedroom.

Recognise the Key Features of Coastal Living Interior Design

The key principles of interior design account for the personality, mood and function in any beach house decorating or redecorating project. A well-planned and decorated interior and exterior not only works well, but it truly shows your character. However, before you begin clearing out, shopping, painting and rearranging, take a look at how these key features of interior design will work with your proposed coastal living project.

2 materials


When choosing materials for your coastal theme room or house, consider choosing those with a raw or rough finish for a more rugged, natural look and feel. Remember, make sure to stick to the same colour palette throughout the entire room. Some common materials used for a coastal living-themed room include:

Raw Timbers

This includes driftwood, stone and reclaimed timbers or lumber. Raw wood furniture such as tables and chairs can give a rustic and authentic feel.


Fabrics such as canvas, cotton, stone-washed denim and linen provide a natural look, and they’re also durable. They can withstand large families and young kids. Rope lighting is a good example of how sturdy fabrics provide the backdrop for an amazing coastal living room.

Texture-weaved Wallpaper

Grass weave or grass cloth wallpaper with smooth lines and neutral colours subtly brings an air of grace to your walls. It not only shows good taste, but it’s also a great way to create a warm and comfortable haven inside your home.


The interior style of a beach-themed home should be open and airy like being on the coast. Some common motifs in this style of designing include:

Layering multiple colours and patterns

These include coral, stripes, checks and Chevrons or v-shaped patterns.


Silver ornate mirrors that reflect the natural light through an entire room are a good addition. This looks particularly amazing with a wall of windows that open up toward the ocean.

Natural Accents

Items such as seashells, starfish, coral, natural wood furniture or décor, lamp shades and woven baskets fit nicely into this category.

Colour Scheme

Coastal living décor uses mainly neutral colours. These colours can be highlighted with corals, oranges and yellows for warm hues, and turquoises and greens for cooler hues. Make these colours strong throughout your room or entire home.

You can also reinforce your coastal look by using a single accent colour throughout the room. Some of these colour schemes, such as blue-grey, reflect an easy-going beach vibe, while a warm grey colour is a natural scheme you see in beach pebbles and driftwood.

Beach House Colour Schemes


Casual coastal living design furniture creates a relaxed atmosphere and generates a feeling of comfort and calm when using plush linen lounges and sofas. Some great pieces to consider are sofas, armchairs and ottomans that are oversized to accommodate larger groups of people.

If you want to keep your modern beach house décor theme, consider selecting coastal furniture from no earlier than the mid-20th century. Again, using a neutral colour with a splash of something bold will go perfectly in a room with this design.

Another idea is to use handmade furniture made from timber, which is lime-washed, whitewashed or distressed, to add warmth to a room. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on beach house furniture to achieve this look.

Outdoor Furniture


Maritime-inspired lights would look stylish in a contemporary coastal-designed room. Aluminium, chrome and stainless steel definitely catch the eye too. However, if you are looking for a basic set-up, consider lighting that casts a soft ambience. You should avoid stark or “cold” blue lights.

If you happen to have a home with large windows, a window wall or skylights, then take full advantage of the soft natural light it provides. Other methods of creating a “natural light” ambiance include:

  • Candles in jars
  • Lanterns
  • Natural material pendant lights made from wicker, cane, wire or grass.
  • Quality light bulbs such as LED and CFL bulbs, which will also lower your electric bill
  • The right shades for your lamps, such as coloured shades to tint and diffuse the light


Natural-coloured flooring such as timber or sisal makes for a pleasing palette. You can also select rustic matte timber parquetry or flooring. If you want to use flat weave rugs, any type of natural fibre styles, such as hemp or woven wool, would be a great addition to a coastal-themed room. Lime-washed wooden flooring is also another option.

Some more modern or contemporary styles of coastal flooring include:

  • Mosaic tile
  • Porcelain tile
  • Stone tile
  • Stone pavers
  • Antique tile
  • Reclaimed hardwood
  • Wide-planked hardwood
  • Painted hardwood (either white or patterned)
  • Polished Concrete

Some other ideas for beach house décor and flooring include:

Cerused (wire brushed) flooring

It has a whitewashed appearance and creates a casual elegance.

Slate tile in a subway layout

This helps elongate a room, which is perfect for tiny beach houses.

Vinyl flooring

It’s good for homes that are close to the sand and water because it’s easy to sweep, mop and vacuum.


This is harder than hardwoods and stone or ceramic tile, so it’s a good choice as long as it’s slip-resistant.

Rugs & Mats

Room Features

Deciding on features to transform your home into a beach house can be difficult. All the details come together, such as sliding and/or folding doors and large windows that open to a scenic view. If possible, this allows access to fresh ocean breezes, which are wonderful to fall asleep to during the summer. You can also create a cottage or bungalow look with wood-panelled walls and ceilings.

Wall Features

Oversized or statement pieces of art with coastal themes work well in a simple coastal room. You can also select a variety of marine-style sculptures or wall hangings. Other wall features for a beach house include:

  • Textured grass weave wallpaper
  • Subway tiles
  • Printed glass tiles
  • Sheer or pale-patterned curtains
  • Framed beach- or ocean-related photos
  • Nautical wall art
  • Mermaid sculptures
  • Sea shells or sea shell art
  • Framed quotes or sayings about the ocean or sea life
  • Rustic window frames or mirrors
  • Rope décor
  • Driftwood crafts
  • Beach décor or signs

Coastal Wall Decor

Outdoor Features

There’s so much you can do to decorate the outside of your home to look like a beach house. Initially, you can purchase some low, comfortable deck chairs and lounge chairs. You can also create an outside lounge with a brick fireplace and a terrace made from sand mixed with gravel. Some other outdoor features to consider include:

  • A covered verandah
  • An outdoor living room with a sofa, chairs and a coffee table
  • A fire pit
  • An extended kitchen counter that passes through a window to create an outdoor counter for passing food
  • A coastal rooftop retreat complete with lounging
  • A screened in verandah complete with distressed oak floors and wicker furniture
  • A swinging daybed covered with colourful pillows
  • A colourful cabana with a daybed and natural fibre pillows
  • An outdoor shower to rinse off after a swim at the beach

Upgrade Your Current Beach House

4 upgrades

Whether you visit your beach house only during the summer or live there year-round, you may want to make some upgrades from time-to-time to keep it fresh and comfortable. Between adding splashes of colour and transforming an outdoor area into an entertaining space, there are many other things you can do to update your space:

  • Brighten up the dull walls with some framed and unframed ocean-themed artwork.

  • Collect some shells or driftwood to display, inside or out

  • Showcase some vintage items or collectibles as conversation starters, such as old board games, a collage of postage stamps, marine paintings or even whaling memorabilia.

  • Pay homage to some of your favourite hobbies by displaying your treasured items in shadow boxes on the wall. This can include pieces of driftwood, vintage fishing lures and other novelties.

  • Make use of some printed textiles and patterns such as those found on pillows, cushions, tapestries and bedspreads. This is an easy way to brighten up a basic and possibly drab room.

Start adding coastal décor today

The time to go coastal is now! If you have a space that you want to spruce up or redesign to give it more of a coastal living or beach-life vibe, visit House of Home. We offer amazing beach house homewares and products. There are various collections from which to choose, as well as all of your favourite brands and products.

Shop The Coastal Look

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